Social Advertising

Get Found on Social Media – Part 3 – SEO

In our previous post, Get Found on Social Media – Part 2, we continued our series on how you can make it easier for people to find your social media efforts. In this post, we take a look at how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help get you found on social media.


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Search Engine Optimization

It shouldn’t be news to you that Google is most often the top way users find Websites. Your site will probably be no different. So you need to make sure that Google can find you and that when they do, they categorize you properly, and rank you highly.

The art and science of ensuring high placement on Google and other search engines is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A related technique known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) encompasses SEO and also adds online advertising on Google and other search engines. We talked about advanced Google usage to find your community in the post Advanced Google Searching for Social Media. Now let’s turn that idea — finding interesting people using keyword searches — around: How can you be found via keyword searches? That’s what SEO is all about.

The basic goal of SEO is to ensure that when people use search words that are relevant to what you do they find you on the first page of search results. This is generally done, at least in part, by selecting a set of keywords that are highly relevant to your site, and then optimize your site to feature these keywords. We led you through this exercise in the post Partner and Cross-Promote on Social Media.

There are lots of SEO consultants out there that will guarantee first page placement, and some are quite good, while others haven’t a clue, so it’s best to have a basic understanding of SEO before you consider using one.

All of them do some combination of the following SEO techniques. We only scratch the surface of a very deep subject here, but many of these techniques you can do yourself without high-priced consultants.

We’re indebted to a very fine post on ClickZ by P.J. Fusco[1] for much of the structure and material in this list. It’s one of the most concise and comprehensive lists of SEO techniques we’ve read.

  • Optimize Title Tags
    The title of a page is the part that shows at the very top of your browser window. It’s the part that is above the toolbar. It must describe the purpose of the page and it should also identify your site.The title tag of every page should begin with a uniquely optimal keyword phrase and end with consistent branding, such as the name of your business, or the name of the site.The words at the beginning of the title tag have more prominence and weight than the words at the end. The target length for title tags should be 65 characters (with spaces). The major engines recognize and index title tags beyond 120 characters, but only 65 characters are visible in the search results.
  • Ensure Each Page Has a Theme
    Just as you were taught in school that every paragraph needs a topic sentence, so each Webpage needs a topic, or a theme. This helps the search engine categorize your page correctly. If you’re tempted to dump all sorts of marginally-related information onto your yard-long pages, the search engines aren’t going to like you.
  • Optimize Heading Tags
    Second to the title tag, the <h1> is the most prominent location to accentuate your keywords. If you’re not familiar with the HTML <h1>, or heading, tag, it’s generally the first and largest heading on the page. It often is the title of a post or a section of a Website.There should be only one <h1> heading tag on a page, and like the title tag, it should begin with the optimal keyword phrase. Additional <h2> and <h3> tags, which denote secondary and tertiary heading tags, should help complement the targeted theme of each page. Unlike <h1> tags, there can be more than one <h2> or <h3> tags per page.
  • Optimize Body Copy
    The text of each page should contain introductory copy or a summary of the page text. Body copy should consist of at least three sentences with a minimum of 150 words. You should try to mention your target keywords as many times as you can in your body copy, without becoming annoying or unreadable. The general rule is to try for four mentions of a keyword per page. Of course if you have a set of 10 keywords, the result could be gibberish, so here’s where the art comes in.
  • Create a Meta Description
    A meta description is an invisible page component that is part of the HTML page header. You see it only when your page shows up in search results. Each page should have a meta description even though having one won’t improve rankings in the search engines. The major search engines ignore the meta description for the purposes of indexing your page. Having a good meta description can, however, increase the likelihood of users clicking on search results.Meta descriptions should be unique to each page and should contain no more than 265 characters. Typically, however, only the first 150 characters (including spaces) are displayed in the search engine results pages, so the meta description should include the relevant keyword phrases and end with a call to action.
  • Create Meta Keywords
    Meta keywords, like the meta description, are invisible parts of the HTML page header. They are lists of words that the page author think are important to describe the content of the page.Google and Bing pay no attention to meta keywords. Yahoo only reviews meta keywords for misspellings that might affect their indexing of the page. You should insert three or four keywords per page, ensuring that the words are pulled from the page. If they’re not, don’t bother producing keywords at all. Nonetheless, don’t make meta keywords a critical part of your keyword strategy.
  • Optimize Alternative Attributes
    You may have seen descriptions pop up when you run your mouse over a graphic or a link on a Webpage. These are known as alternative attributes, or alt tags for short. Create keyword-rich alt tags for all graphics and images. Also create mouse-over text[2] for any links on the page.
  • Optimize Videos
    If you are embedding videos on your Webpage, follow conventional title tag and meta data standards as already outlined. Embed one video per page and organize video content around the structures of your pages, sections, and the site.If you are using a YouTube channel for hosting videos, ensure that you optimize the following YouTube fields using your keywords:

    • Title
    • Description
    • Tags

There are plenty of other aspects of SEO beyond optimizing your site and its content. One very popular and effective technique is to increase the number and quality of the inbound links to your site.

An inbound link is when another site links to you. Google assigns a rank to all sites, and if a more-highly-ranked site links to your site, it confers some of its rank — its prestige — to your site. Plus, the more inbound links you have, in general, the more highly you will rank. And the more highly your site ranks, the more highly placed it will be on Google search results. Google takes a dim view of such site and may penalize you for linking to them.

A common way to increase a site’s rank is to run an inbound link campaign. This involves contacting other, highly-ranked sites, and asking them if they’ll link to you. It can be tedious, but it can also be quite rewarding. Beware of those who want to link to you in return for a reciprocal link. Be sure the requesting site is reputable and not what is known as a link farm — a site that exists to try to game the Google system so that they’ll get increased ad revenue.

As we’ve said, SEO and SEM are very deep and complex topics and you really may need a consultant to move much beyond the advice we’ve given here. Just be careful of too-good-to-be-true claims. It generally costs hundreds or thousands of dollars per month to stay on top of search engine results. Those who claim to be able to do this for you for less may not be able to deliver.

There are few absolutes in the world of SEO, but one of them is that as soon as someone figures out how to game the search engines, they’ll change their ranking techniques, and perhaps penalize previously-effective SEO techniques.


Get Found on Social Media – Part 3 is the 64th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 208. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Get Found on Social Media – Part 4 – Real-Time Social Search


[1] Fusco’s Site Redesign SEO Considerations for 2010bit.ly/d5VTjh

[2] You’ve seen mouseover text when you’ve moved the cursor over a link on a page, and popped up a little description.

Get Found on Social Media – Part 2

Get Found on Social Media – Part 2

In our previous post, Get Found on Social Media – Part 1, we started a series on how you can make it easier for people to find your social media efforts. In this post, we continue the series with some more ideas on getting found on social media.

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Establish an Inner Circle

Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” Most people don’t feel that way, thankfully. Consider creating an exclusive club and offering some kind of benefit — perhaps only prestige — to its members. It might be as simple as first dibs on tickets to one of your events, or attendance at special briefings, or other exclusive access.

You might have various circles within the club, with the highest circle reserved for those who are your true evangelists, and who do the most to help build your community.

If you offer things for sale, consider creating a coupon club that lets participants get discounts. However, be careful not to establish the idea – in your mind or your community’s – that the only reason to interact with you on social media is to get discounts. Remember: social media is about creating and maintaining relationships.

Triangulate Your Social Media Presence

At the most basic level, what we mean by triangulation involves linking your social media properties together. So you should:

  • Tweet about your blog
  • Blog about your Facebook page
  • Link your blog to your Website
  • Link your Website to your YouTube channel
  • Link your Twitter feed to your LinkedIn and Facebook statuses
  • Put all your images on Flickr and link to them when you need images on your site or your blog

You get the idea: Send people who find you on one social site to your offerings on all your other sites. We mentioned the concept of social media as an echo chamber in a previous post. You’re trying to set up your own echo chamber to reinforce your presence. Of course none of this will work if you’re boring and don’t add any value on all your sites.

Beyond this rather mechanical view of triangulation, though, are other considerations such as your online brand. On all your sites you should use consistent graphics. Have your graphic backgrounds and logos professionally created, and use the same graphics everywhere. Include photos of you and your staff to personalize your brand.

Include links to your social media presence everywhere:

  • Email signature
  • Company letterhead
  • Traditional advertising

The idea is to maximize the ability of your community to find out all you’re doing online even if they just happen to glimpse a single tweet and check out your profile. Not only will your Twitter profile point them to your other sites, but when they arrive, they’ll see a consistent graphic and branding treatment. If they later run into another of your sites, this consistency reminds them of their previous experience and builds your brand.


Get Found on Social Media – Part 2 is the 63rd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 190. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Get Found on Social Media – Part 3 – SEO

Get Found on Social Media – Part 1

Get Found on Social Media – Part 1

In our previous post, Influence via Blogging on Social Media, we finished up our look at ideas for increasing your influence on social media. In this post, we begin a series on how to be found on social media.

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Get Found

Yes, you’ll need to do some work to get found on social media. There is no build it and they will come. The best way to get found is to provide something your community finds valuable. But that alone will most often not be enough. You’ll need to use a variety of online and offline techniques to build awareness in your community.

We take a look at several ideas for getting found in the this and the following posts.

Run Contests

The most sure-fire way to attract users on the Internet has long been to give something away for free. Years ago, this caused us to create the aphorism: “On the Internet, everything devolves to free.”[1] Well, what if you start out with free? Free is a crowd pleaser.

Years ago, Internet marketing guru Seth Godin promoted his book, Permission Marketing,[2] by offering the first four chapters to anyone who would email him at free@permission.com. He gave away 150,000 free copies. Was that stupid, or did it contribute to the book’s success? Godin went even further with Unleashing the IdeaVirus:[3] He gave the book away for free — two million copies worldwide. Sheer folly, right? Wrong. According to Godin, the hardcover edition went to number 5 on Amazon in the US, reached number 4 in Japan, and is the #1 most downloaded eBook in history.

So don’t be afraid to give away valuable stuff for free.

One way to give stuff away, attract attention, and create a little buzz is to run a contest. We can’t pretend to know what kind of contest you should run, but it should be fun, have a significant prize, and generate enough excitement that your followers tell their friends. In fact, make a secondary prize for the person who refers the most entrants.

Most of the time you’ll be giving away prizes that cost you something. But you can also give away something that costs you nothing: prestige. The prize could be nothing more than bragging rights, and be represented by something as simple as the ability to display a badge or other notice of the honor as part of the winner’s profile, or on their blog.

Microsoft figured this out more than a decade ago with their Most Valuable Professional (MVP) pro­gram.[4] MVP is an award presented by Microsoft for exceptional technical community leaders who voluntarily provide technical expertise within Microsoft support communities. This award has value to the awardees — helping convince potential clients that they know their stuff — and the winners in­variably have given hundreds of hours a year in service to Microsoft by helping people solve their technical problems with the firm’s software.

So your contest could not only be cost-free for you, but it actually could benefit your business.


Get Found on Social Media is the 62nd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 190. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Get Found on Social Media – Part 2


[1] Are we devo? bit.ly/an3gnK

[3] Godin’s Unleashing the IdeaVirus: amzn.to/dsGGpw

[4] Microsoft’s MVP program: bit.ly/drOKhY

Influence via Blogging on Social Media

Influence via Blogging on Social Media

In our previous post, Facilitate Viralocity on Social Media, we took a look at ideas for helping your social media efforts go viral, thus expanding your influence. In this post, we examine blogging as a way to make your voice heard.

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Blog to Influence

A major way you can influence your community is by blogging. Don’t let the sobering fact that tens of thousands of blogs are created each day stop you from starting your own. Make sure you know what you want to say, and what your point of view and style will be before getting started. You’ll need to do more than just start a blog and hope they will come; you’ll need to promote it. And once you get people to your blog, you must be sure you’re giving them something of value, not necessarily just your opinion.

You should include a blog on your Website for sure, and also on as many blog sites as you can. However, cross-posting – posting the same blog on multiple sites – is discouraged by Google’s latest site ranking algorithms. It’s possible to use a site such as Ping.fm[1] to put the same material on each site, but it’s best for your readers and for search engines if you modify it for the intended audiences on the other sites.

If possible, get yourself invited to be a guest blogger by a more-influential site. It’s a great way for both sites to benefit, and for you to find an audience. By the same token, having guests post on your blog can introduce their audience to your blog.

You can even ask other bloggers to blog about you, but you should have a good reason why they’d want to.

When blogging, always remember, like all social media, blogging is not a one-way channel. It’s not just a way for you to present your agenda and point of view. It’s a way for your community to respond to you. So you should definitely enable comments on your blog. Doing this may cause you a little extra work — monitoring and responding, and even removing offensive posts — but you’ll find the interaction not only stimulating, but traffic-building.

Everywhere you are on social media, think about making an offer of some kind, like offering help or more information if a reader takes some action. A good place to do this is as a standing part of your blog’s author bio. It can be as simple as, “Email me for more info on _____” or as a link to your site for more information. You can also take a page from Hotmail’s viral success and incorporate your offer and a link to your blog into your email signature.[2]


Influence via Blogging on Social Media is the 61st in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 190. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Get Found on Social Media


[1] Ping.fm: bit.ly/dwbqG3

[2] Advice on email sigs: bit.ly/9eCOfM

Facilitate Viralocity on Social Media

Facilitate Viralocity on Social Media

In our previous post, Partner and Cross-Promote on Social Media, we took a look at leveraging your partners to promote your social media efforts. In this post examine ideas for helping your social media efforts go viral.

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Facilitate Viralocity

You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about being viral online. It’s not about infection, at least not bodily infection, but about getting people excited enough about you that they pass your messages on to others.

One of the earliest and most impressive successes in building a business using viral techniques is Hotmail. Now known as Windows Live Hotmail, Hotmail was started by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith in mid-1995. By the end of 1997, when Microsoft bought Hotmail for $400 million, it had 8.5 million subscribers. How did two Silicon Valley wage slaves start the free email movement and make millions? At the bottom of every Hotmail email message, the service tacked on the following text: “Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com.” So every message their 8.5 million subscribers sent could go viral. The best thing about this technique is it didn’t require any change in behavior by Hotmail users. They just went about their business, emailing people and spreading the word about Hotmail.

Many online marketers are absolutely obsessed with the concept of going viral, and many will profess to know how to be able to take your messages and make them viral.

But one thing to understand about viralness, virality, viralocity, or whatever you call it: It is not a technique. It’s a destination. There are no tried and true techniques for creating viralocity. Most often, viral phenomena seem accidental.

Take the Blendtec YouTube videos[1] for example.

Blendtec makes powerful blenders, and so someone got the bright idea of doing a series of short videos called Will it Blend? Starting way back in 2006, and featuring Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson, each video — designated either “Try this at home” or “Don’t try this at home” — blends a range of items from 50 marbles and a handful of golf balls to a new iPhone.

It was the iPhone blend video that went viral, racking up more than 9.8 million views, and counting. Combining the fetish power of the game-changing mobile phone with the eccentric idea of obliterating things with a blender equated to tremen­dous viralocity. Since the first iPhone bit it, the company has trashed a series of iconic electronic gadgets, including an Olympus digital camera, an iPad (11 million views), and an iPhone 4.

Was it planned this way? No. It was just a wacky— and cheap— bid for attention from a small company with a small marketing budget. It went viral because . . . well, just because it was bizarre, over the top, and cool, we guess. For almost no money, Blendtec has reaped more than 192 million YouTube views, 440,000 subscribers, and a 7X increase in sales.

So why do we mention this? Did you see the part about “almost no money?”

You could go viral as well. But to do so, you must be hooked into the zeitgeist[2] of your community, and the larger society. Offbeat, quirky ideas are what generally go viral. But if you try too hard (we’re looking at you, LonelyGirl15[3]) you could do more damage than good.

What you can do is enable your supporters to take viral actions, like embedding a link to your Website, Buy button, Facebook page, or other social networking site as signatures in their emails. Or enabling a Tell A Friend feature on your site, or add a social media sharing service such as AddThis[4] to your site so fans can bookmark you on Delicious or “Like” you on Facebook. You can offer your users branded badges they can add to their blogs or Websites

The first step to viralocity is to ask users to pass it on. We talk more about these techniques in the series that starts with the post How to Scale Social Media. Other ideas include the following list, created by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson[5] way back in 2000 but still very relevant more than a decade later:

An effective viral marketing strategy:

  1. Gives away products or services
  2. Provides for effortless transfer to others
  3. Scales easily from small to very large
  4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors
  5. Utilizes existing communication networks
  6. Takes advantage of others’ resources

These attributes of viralocity may be simple, but, as we’ve indicated, going viral is more art — and luck — than science.


Facilitate Viralocity on Social Media is the 60th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 190. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Influence via Blogging on Social Media


[1] Blendtec’s YouTube channel: bit.ly/9pHXIh

[2] Google zeitgeist: bit.ly/cy2fhg

[3] LonelyGirl15’s YouTube channel: bit.ly/dBib9J

[4] AddThis: bit.ly/d6oL2B

[5] Wilson’s The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketingbit.ly/9be3Fg

Partner and Cross-Promote on Social Media

In our previous post, Aim to Influence on Social Media, we explored what you can do with your social media community. In this post we take a look at leveraging your partners to promote your social media efforts.

ContentSource: The World Wide Meme

Partner and Cross-Promote

Partnering is even more important and effective online than it is offline. By choosing the right strategic partners, you can leverage others’ traffic and followers and attract them to your community. You can also increase your prestige by associating with the right online leaders, creating a halo effect by borrowing their influence.

Social media is a good way to find new partners and create partnerships. In his 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report,[1] Michael A. Stelzner reported that 56 percent of those who invested 6 to 10 hours per week over a few months with social media marketing found new partnerships.

The benefits of having online partners can be great. You can multiply your efforts and mutually enhance each other’s success. You can offer a more compelling value to your community. You can benefit by associating with a partner, sharing in each other’s prestige and reputation. Perhaps more importantly, by partnering with a larger or more established online business, you can reinforce your own legitimacy and community standing.

Prospect for Partners

There are many ways to find potential partners using online media. We recommend that, after you’ve established some goals for having a partner, you use the following procedure:

  • Determine the important keywords for your business
    What are the first words that come to mind when you think about your business and your products? Write them down. Now put yourself in your community’s shoes. What words would they use to find you? Add them to the list. Organize the list into primary keywords — those that you think most people would associate with your product category — and long tail keywords — those that may have meaning, but are more peripheral. (Incidentally, you’ll probably want to use this list in your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) efforts.)
  • Search and see who controls the keywords
    Plug your primary keywords into Google. Who comes up on the first page? Assuming it’s not you, note the organizations and make a list of their names. Explore their Websites to determine how they might fit as a partner. Assign a 1 to 100 score based on their likelihood and desirability. Do the same for your long tail keywords. Then prioritize your list and use the top words in your content and to search for partners. Prioritize the resulting partner list and use it to make contacts.
  • Check sponsored results
    While doing your Google research, also take note of any AdWords ads you see. AdWords are those text ads that appear to the right of search results on Google. There may also be some sponsored results at the top. Evaluate the organizations behind these ads and adjust their scores.
  • Create a list of the influential blogs/forums
    Using your lists, search for blogs and forums that deal with your product category. You can use BlogSearch.com [2] or the various tools we’ve previously discussed. From the number of comments, tweets, or other measures of influence, create a list of influential bloggers and forums.
  • Listen to the blogs/forums
    Find out what people are saying about the organizations on your partner prospect list. If your prospects are participating, even better. You can start to engage with them on these sites. Research your prospects by finding out what social media sites they frequent.

Using this process, you’ve created a partner prospect list and been able to prioritize it. Now you can start to engage with these partners online, and draw them into a relationship. Start by commenting on their blogs or other posts and gradually introduce yourself that way.


Partner and Cross-Promote on Social Media is the 59th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 190. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Facilitate Viralocity on Social Media


[1] Stelzner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report: bit.ly/JPUHwN

Aim to Influence on Social Media

Aim to Influence on Social Media

In our previous post, Creating Social Media Community, we finished talking about creating our Social Media 4 C’s, Content, Context, Connection, and Community. In this post we explore what you can do with your community.

Mari Smith influence

Aim to Influence

One of your goals for your online community — whether you create your own or use an existing social media site — is to influence people. We’ve talked about having goals for your social net­working efforts, which involves figuring out what activities you want people to take. So how do you influence your community and spark them to action?

The first step is to be sure you invest before you make a withdrawal. By this we mean, don’t just jump in with both feet and start asking for commitments. Remember, the point of social media is relationships, so a far better tactic is to start getting involved by establishing yourself as a resource.

Don’t just post, engage with the community. Get to know various influential members, and offer advice, information and other value. You might, for example, give away something for free, perhaps a white paper, or maybe just a blog post that addresses common community concerns. Other ideas for con­tributing include:

  • Break news — Draw people’s attention to significant news about your product or service category or just in general can help establish your value to the community
  • Offer trial versions — Depending on your community, and your business, you can add value for offering trial access to content, discounted access to events, or other freebies
  • Create How-To’s — Produce a series of how-to blog posts that are relevant to your community and that they will find valuable

It’s a good idea when engaging in this way to enable community members to take action just as long as this is not seen as the primary reason for your interaction with them. When enabling action online, be sure to give details up front and ensure that the action is specific, and able to be completed online right away. For example, you can include a link to the eCommerce section of your Website in your signature for posts.

On the other hand, avoid pitching offline actions that take a bit more effort to complete. For example, if you want people to buy, include a Buy button rather than a message such as, “click here to email someone to find out how to buy” since this requires a more lengthy, or offline, follow up.

The bottom line is that you need to be a part of the community, and accepted by the community, before you start asking for commitment. Imagine two door-to-door donation solicitation scenarios. In one, a stranger appears at your door selling magazine subscriptions; in the other, your neighbor (or neighbor’s kid) appears. Which would be more likely to get you to buy? It’s the same online. Become a neighbor first before asking.


Aim to Influence on Social Media is the 58th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 180. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Partner and Cross-Promote on Social Media

Learning from Crisis: Domino’s Makes the Right Social Media Moves

Domino’s may just go from being considered (but not added) for our Social Media Hall of Shame to social media rock star fame. You might remember that back in April, 2009 a couple of immature Domino’s employees made a video of themselves doing horrible things to (apparent) customer pizzas. The pair was charged with delivering prohibited foods, the media went wild, the company’s sales dropped 3 percent, and the franchise location where the video was made went out of business five months later.

Domino's Gross Video

That the company delayed in handling the crisis with an old-media, delayed-reaction (48 hours), press-releasey response is odd because back in 2008, they pioneered a wonderful interactive application: the real-time Pizza Tracker. When you order a Domino’s pizza online, you can watch the progress via a thermometer graph as your pizza is prepared, baked, checked for quality and delivered.

Domino's Pizza Tracker Status Screen

In a truly savvy move, Domino’s includes the names of the actual employees working to get you your pizza. Unbelievable! When we ordered a pizza recently (for the first time in many years), you could even skin the site using six different themes from Hair Metal to Romance Novel; we chose the tropical theme (it being winter in Minnesota and all). And we got into rooting for the employees – “Go Bob! Check that pizza!” – and greeted the delivery guy by name when the pizza showed up (within 30 minutes).

Even more important than this real-time – the company claims the status is updated within 40 seconds – interactivity: The Pizza Tracker page includes a panel for feedback, entitled Help Us Get Better. One question sets Domino’s expectation for customer satisfaction: “We want your ordering experience to rock. How was it?”

Domino's Pizza Tracker Survey

So despite the fact that creating the Pizza Tracker indicates Domino’s understood a lot about digital media, the company did not handle the gross videos particularly well. But there was a silver lining to the crisis.

Combined with ranking last in a 2009 survey of consumer taste preferences among national chains, the incident caused Domino’s to reevaluate the product they were selling. In numerous focus groups, consumers indicated that Domino’s was producing a low-quality, unappealing product. The company needed to do some soul searching.

In an act of extremely brand bravery, they decided to own up to their shortcomings and even – the horror! – broadcast them. They entirely remade their product line, answering the criticisms uncovered in their research, and then, in December 2009, made a series of commercials featuring company employees discussing the bad qualities of their former product – cardboard crust, sauce that tastes like ketchup – and explaining how they had changed.

In mid-2011, Dominos posted a five-minute documentary online (created by CP+ B agency) called Pizza Turnaround and flanked it with uncensored tweets. In the video, Dominos employees react emotionally to the negative remarks about their food, and they show their passion for their product (following our dictate to Be a Person).

The company then sent a camera crew along with their head chefs to knock on the doors of their worst critics to engage them in conversation, and posted these visits online. One critic, obviously uncomfortable at being engaged on his front stoop, said, “I didn’t know you were listening.”

The chefs gave the critics a taste of the new pizza, eliciting at least one “Oh my God, that’s delicious” response. The media loved it. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert quipped, “It takes alpha meatballs to stand up and say, ‘America, we suck.’” The immediate result: a sales gain of 14 percent, doubled profits, and a 44 percent rise in the company’s share price.

Wow! Domino’s went from a stiff and corporate response to the gross pizza video disaster to an intimate campaign to let people know the company had listened to their concerns and changed their product. They took the opportunity presented by a negative experience to learn how to use social media to tell the company’s – and its employees’ – story.

Some enterprises might be uncomfortable opening the kimono like Domino’s did. Could yours really take the things that people really hate about your products, publicize them, publicly fix them, then ask customers to give real-time feedback on your Website? Maybe? Check the results we cited: a sales gain of 14 percent, doubled profits, and a 44 percent rise in the company’s share price.

Would that work for your company?

Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media

What do the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common? In the first post in this series, Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media, I examined Old Spice’s campaign, and in the second, Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media, I reviewed the most remarkable facet of the campaign: direct-response YouTube videos. In this post I compare Billy Bean’s innovation vs. Old Baseball with current conditions in the advertising and marketing industry.

Old Spice Guy Manta Claus

I just saw Moneyball, the movie, and I see some real parallels here between the Old Baseball techniques of traditional advertising and marketing and the new ground Old Spice has broken.

In the movie (and real life) Billy Bean decides to disregard the conventional wisdom (experienced scouts find and evaluate talent; fielding is as important as getting on base) and build a new paradigm. He was told in many different ways how it won’t work; it’s heretical; he’s an idiot. Although his team wins 20 straight games, setting a major league record, it fails to win the pennant. Everybody says this confirms his idiocy. Then the Red Sox use his method to win two World Series and break the curse of the Bambino.

This is like the ad world’s reaction to Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign: They only managed to maintain share; the social media frenzy didn’t turn into dollars; quirky works, but can’t sustain.

After the YouTube video response campaign, Old Spice didn’t entirely abandon the quirky and interactive social media based approach to advertising. They set up a duel between “New Old Spice Guy” Fabio and “Old Old Spice Guy” Isaiah Mustafa that featured each spokesman responding to comments made via social media. They went on to do some other clever videos. Then, during December, 2011, they created the “Manta Claus” campaign in which Mustafa announces he wants to give gifts to all 7 billion of us.

In the first video, Mustafa name checks Twitter user @beautyjunkies  and gifts her with a pair of shoes made out of necklaces. @beautyjunkies is a lady named Amber with more than 12,000 followers who runs a sophisticated Website that hawks all kinds of beauty accessories. This type of site is similar to the “fashion hauling” sites targeted at young women. On haul sites and videos, women show off their latest fashion finds. So @beautyjunkies is a savvy choice for Old Spice, who admitted that when they started, they had little idea of how to find social media influencers. “We don’t have the answers of who the real influencers are in the world right now,” said Iain Tait, global interactive executive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, who produced the original Old Spice campaigns. “We wanted to pick a cross-section where we could meet influencers in different areas.”[1]

Mustafa goes on in a series of videos name-checking 25 other social media users, Australia, Billings, Montana, Matt Lauer, and South America (in Spanish). These videos don’t have the stratospheric numbers of views of the originals — ranging from 45,000 to half a million views each versus the 3.5 million combined views for the Fabio/Mustafa duel videos — but the approach shows that Old Spice understands the technique they pioneered.

That Old Spice gets it is reflected in the fact that, for the second straight year, their campaigns have topped the list as the most viral brand of the year in video. Old Spice is even name-checked in Mashable’s infographic, The Evolution of Advertising: From Stone Carving to the Old Spice Guy.

Continuing our conversation, Chris Cortilet, Principal of human-centered design firm, Azul7, thinks that companies in both the advertising/marketing and the digital/interactive camps can learn a lot from Old Spice’s success. “There are so many in the digital or interactive industry who think the ad world is crap,” Cortilet said. “I just think that there is a legacy of things agencies do that our community should take note of. By the same token, advertising folks are starting to get some aspects of social media, and when they do get it, they’ll be a force.”


[1] Advertising Week’s How Old Spice Ruled the Real-Time Web: bit.ly/thJ6Dj



Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

In the first post in this series, Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media, I asked “What do the Old Spice body wash ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like‘ campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common?” The post examined Old Spice’s campaign, which was a smashing success by almost any measure.

Old Spice Video Responses

According to Chris Cortilet, Principal of human-centered design firm, Azul7, “The advertising community noticed the effect of the campaign and, because the ads started on YouTube and achieved such success, likes to use it as a case study of effective integration of social media and traditional advertising. Agencies talk about the initial 19% increase in sales. Very good. But then Old Spice did the unthinkable: They stopped producing the commercials. Six months later they relaunched the campaign and saw a small 7% uptick in sales. Then they did the unthinkable again: They stopped updating content, and six months later they saw a negative effect on sales.”

There may have been seemingly rational reasons for this. Ad agencies and brands are afraid to let an approach get stale (tell that to Mr. Whipple, the “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” guy featured in ads for more than 20 years). Perhaps the effect of the campaign was diminishing. There was discussion in the ad community that the campaign had done nothing more than maintain Old Spice’s share in the face of Dove’s launch of a competing product.[1]

Whatever the reasons, in some way, the traditional way of managing ad campaigns won out, and Old Spice moved on. Advertising folks figured the campaign was clever and splashy, but changed nothing. I’m sure there were plenty of naysayers saying things like “It’s a fluke; you can’t replicate this” to Old Spice. I think they were wrong. Old Spice minted gold, and the industry had no idea.

What the advertising community did not catch is that Old Spice invented a new way of relating with individual users — YouTube custom video responses to individual fan comments.

Old Spice’s video response campaign, in which the Old Spice Guy responded in near real-time to fan tweets and posts, was the fastest growing interactive campaign in history, according to Social Times,[2] who noted the following statistics about the campaign:

  • The campaign received a shocking 5.9 million YouTube views in the first day. That’s more views that Obama’s victory speech received after the first twenty-four hours!
  • On the second day of the campaign, Old Spice accounted for 8 videos out of the 11 most popular videos on the Web.
  • By the third day, the Old Spice response campaign had more than 20 million views.
  • A week after the campaign launched it boasted over 40 million views.

OMG. Imagine if it were your tweet they responded to. Wouldn’t you tell everyone you know? Wouldn’t you think Old Spice was the coolest brand ever? Wouldn’t they have a fan for life? Now, if they’d taken the next step of hooking those fans in to an evangelism program, that would have been even better. (See our social media evangelism series, beginning with the post How Can Social Media Scale?)

Sure it was probably expensive to do those spots, but the way they did it — in almost real time, with writing, shooting and editing taking a half hour for each bit — was, I think, sustainable. And probably fun for all involved. After 48 hours, during which it sparked nearly 200 viral response videos and receive tremendous coverage via blog comments and tweets, Old Spice shut the campaign down. It’s like creating a golden goose and leaving it in the barnyard to move on to regular geese.

Cortilet said, “Advertisers may get social media strategy, but they still don’t understand the human part, the engagement on an ongoing basis. It’s still a media-driven mindset. They loved the idea of what they did to get the attention of the consumer, but they didn’t consider the ongoing relationship. And it seems like, in this one, they really missed an opportunity.”

What’s this got to do with Moneyball? That’s the subject of the next post.

Next up: Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media


[1] Advertising Age’s How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold? bit.ly/t7C2pS

[2] Social Times’ Old Spice Response Campaign Was More Popular Than Obama: bit.ly/voggHI